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Brighton Beach shopping tip - sour cherry preserves

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Brighton Beach shopping tip - sour cherry preserves

Sir Gawain | Sep 11, 2004 07:58 PM

I love BB but not for its restaurants. Usually I end up getting a pirozhok with cabbage on the street ($0.60, a greasy but satisfying piece of fried dough with a sweet cabbage filling), some produce (the shops in BB have even recherché items like pink gooseberries and white currants), and lately I've become crazy about the ARARAT (not Arafat!) brand sour cherry preserves.

That stuff, sold in a tallish jar with a picture of what must be Mt. Ararat, comes from Armenia (and specifically an "environmentally clean" higland region of 3,000 ft) and its list of ingredients is pleasantly short: sour cherries, sugar. No colors, preservatives, nothing. And it tastes great! The consistency is somewhat loose, like a fruit topping, but the flavor is an incredible concentration of sour-cherriness, a taste a hundred times more intense than a regular cherry. A spoonful on top of Total yogurt makes it into a delicious dessert (though I eat it for breakfast); it's also great on pancakes, waffles, rice pudding, and I'm sure you could make a fine sauce with it (perhaps cooked down a bit more and acidized) for foie gras, were you so inclined.

The price is around $3 for a 16 oz (!!) jar. You have to kind of look for it - not every grocery there has it, and sometimes they have the brand but not this particular product - but I always find it somewhere. Look for a label with a snow-capped mountain. Try the Gastronom shops and the produce places.

Ararat also makes the very intriguing "Young Walnut Preserves", essentially whole unripe walnuts still in their green "fruit", preserved in some sort of syrup. If I can figure out what to do with it (other than just eat it out of the jar), I'll get it next time.

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